Our evening at Blackhawk was the halfway point, of our 22-night road trip.
We spent a little more $ for this stay, but we were ready for some luxury.
Not So Luxurious
This historic, 11-story, brick & white terra cotta building was not looking so luxurious just a few years ago. After many up and down years, (there were even plans to make it low-income housing for the elderly) the hotel suffered a fire in 2006.
The fire wasn't caused by a faulty wire, or even a smoldering cigarette. The fire started on the 8th floor when a meth lab exploded. Demolition work began in 2009 and after a multimillion-dollar renovation, the Blackhawk opened in 2010.
I loved seeing parts of the hotel that hadn't changed, since the opening in 1915. I wondered who might have looked out the impressive windows, in the past.
Jack Dempsey, Carl Sandburg or Herbert Hoover, maybe? All have been guests.
The new additions weren't bad either. At night, the modern entrance which faced the river, had the hotel's name projected onto the building. The fountain had a pretty cool flame, although my camera failed to capture it.
When Mr. and Mrs. Obama and the girls stayed here in 2011, they probably entered though the revolving door, of this entrance.
Arriving on a Tuesday, meant we were checking in with lah-dee-dah business folk, who weren't a bit impressed with the grand lobby. I took it all in, like a happy tourist.
The grand 2-story atrium was once again open. It had been closed in for years, to make room for extra meeting space.
Clean and Fresh
Gold is not usually my thing, but I loved all the gold and white. Everything looked fresh and clean.
There was a huge arrangement of fresh flowers on the center table and bowls of fresh fruit, at the lobby desk.
We've actually seen a lot of lovely stained glass in historic hotels, but this one seemed bolder and brighter than most.
I wasn't able to find out if this was the original stained glass, or if it was lost when the atrium was closed up. New or old, it was a nice addition.
More Royal Gold
The gold trimmed staircase and accents in the well known Gold Room, looked worthy of someone very special. I'm not sure if any Royalty ever stayed, but one of my favorite British actors was a guest in his later years.
Cary Grant was here with his wife, in 1986. He felt ill and was unable to appear at the nearby Adler Theatre. It's not clear whether he died in his room, (901) or in the nearby hospital. It's sad to think I was walking through the last place, where Cary Grant walked before his death. I kept an eye out for his ghost.
Our Room.. not on Cary's Floor
Our room was not on the same hall, as Cary Grant's room. In fact his room doesn't even exist anymore. During renovations they shuffled space and his room is no longer available.
I'm pretty certain that our room was nice enough for a movie star. Cushy and spacious, modern and comfy. We don't usually get all that with our stays at historic hotels.
Room with a View
It was hard getting to the big windows behind the bed, but there was a good view of the Mississippi. I love a river view! What I didn't expect, was a view of the bathroom, through another window!
Shutters and TV Mirror
Maybe if Don and I stayed in classy hotels more often, we wouldn't have been so tickled by the shuttered bathroom window. That kind of goes along with the bathroom trend I've been complaining about lately. Lots of glass doors in hotel bathrooms!
So the shutters were interesting, (no glass of course) and the bathroom TV cracked me up. I've seen TVs in bathrooms before, but this was the first TV built I've ever seen that was built into a mirror. I was sort of like a dog noticing a mirror for the first time. I wanted to keep touching those people on CNN to see what would happen.
We didn't need to leave the building once we checked in. There was too much to do.
Blackhawk Bowl and Martini Lounge!
How could we not visit the bar and lanes, in the basement?
The club was hopping when we first arrived. We had to wait a while to make use of our free bowling voucher!!
Martinis and Dinner
We actually saved the martinis for the lobby bar, which was having a half price special.
Then it was dinner in the Bix Bistro, just off the lobby. My very "whippy" pumpkin bisque, was almost as yummy as the chocolate torte that we took up to the room. The dessert was just one more freebie perk, for hotel guests!
Making Use in the Morning
Don and I were determined to get our money's worth out of our hotel. By sunrise, I was working out in the fitness center and Don was swimming laps in 3rd floor pool.
There was a great outdoor deck with lounge chairs and a river view. Wish we'd had time for a coffee out there!
My notables are usually quirky things or funny things.
But mostly I will remember this hotel for being the perfect balance of historic charm and modern luxury. Oh, and maybe that bowling alley. That was pretty memorable. Our first hotel with a bowling alley!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!